HARBOROUGH AC recently secured qualification for the National Six Stage Women’s Relays with 26th place in the regional event, and the past weekend saw the UK-wide version held at the same venue – Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield.
And the team of Yvonne Scarrott, Jill Postlethwaite, Emily Taylor, Karen Brooks, Hazel Buswell and Lin Farrow happily embraced the elevated level of competition.
The national race echoed the fashion of the Midlands’ one, with six legs of three miles in direct relay format.
With a combined time of 2hrs 07mins 13secs, representing a six-minute improvement on that of two weeks earlier and a ten-minute bettering of 12 months ago – the final position of 29th ‘A’ team (and tenth among the Midlands entrants) was the best result for the club since 2009.
Scarrott set the squad off on leg one with a time of 19:53, and left Postlethwaite to take on the mantle in 41st spot from the 50-plus entrants.
She again proved to have lost none of her inherent turn of pace over the distance during her extended absence, recording a time of 19:43 to pick off six places. Taylor then produced a solid run (21:20), to leave the team well in contention in the middle of the field. Brooks and Buswell cemented a midfield place with 20:03 and 21:52, respectively, before Farrow secured one more pass on, stopping the clock at 24:22 for the final leg.
Speaking after the race, club treasurer Rick Brown epitomised the commitment shown by the Harborough contingent: “To finish in the top 30 places among the ‘A’ teams is a tremendous achievement for the club, and is a real credit to the strength of the female part of the membership. The final six who ran were all fantastic, and they were certainly not overawed by being in a race with so many international runners.”
Over a similar distance (of 5km), Harborough’s George Nolan continued his park run ventures, with another outing at Braunstone Park.
From some 180 runners, Nolan’s time of 20:50 saw him take 42nd overall, maintaining his half-marathon preparation with a nice turn of pace.
The previous week, and also turning out in another variant of the nationwide parkrun series, Will Clapp took the opportunity of a family trip to take on the Forest of Dean course. From the 78 others who did likewise, Clapp ensured the Harborough AC name was well-placed, with a notable third, in 18:04.
Meanwhile, Tony Harrison also took to the trails, this time under the guise of the Stanwick 10km. Over the quintessentially rural course, Harrison garnered 80th place – from more than 320 – stopping the watch at 44:13.
Clubmate Adam Brooks is rapidly generating a reputation as a fell-running specialist – and with just cause. His free-flowing, light-footed style lends itself well to the inconsistent underfoot conditions that typify the discipline, and he is quickly making his a recognised name countywide.
At the Peat Pits and Shining Cliffs Race – held in Peat Pits Woods, Derbyshire – Brooks produced one his best runs to date, with a superb ninth place (51:13) among more than 100 athletes. On this occasion, he also had a clubmate – Mark Cherry – taking on the 6.5-mile challenge as well. Cherry picked up 16th on the day (53:34).
Continuing the park-themed weekend, several club members journeyed to The Racecourse in Northampton for the second in the newly-formed Northamptonshire Network 5k Series.
Paul Tomlinson led home the six-strong contingent with an excellent seventh place, in a time of 18:42. Next home – in 20th – was Jill Postlethwaite, showing no ill-effects from the previous day, and taking second overall female spot, in 20:34.
She was well-backed by Sue Neal (34th, 21:53, and fifth female), with Steve Sawford (42nd, 23:47), Jackie King (44th, 23:53, third FV45) and Lin Farrow (57th, 26:04) also stretching their legs under the bright, but chilly airs of the town centre recreation ground as 95 completed the route.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west